New York airport workers who refuel planes have planned Memorial Day weekend walkout: report

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Passengers waiting to take off from New York’s John F. Kennedy International Airport this holiday weekend may have longer to wait until liftoff, as plane refueling workers are planning a strike to begin Friday. 

Teamsters Local 553, which represents commercial and cargo jet fuel workers and mechanics at JFK, told the New York Post it is in disagreement with the company that services airplanes there, Allied Aviation Services. 

The union, which previously went on strike in 2005, told the Post it has been working without a collective bargaining agreement for nearly a year.

“Allied Aviation has not been negotiating in good faith since they are conditioning any new contract on our forfeiting our right to strike and fight for our members in the future. That is simply a non-starter for us,” Teamsters Local 553 secretary-treasurer Demos Demopolos told the newspaper. “We will never give up the right to strike and fight for our members, a right granted to us by the National Labor Relations Act.”

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A key disagreement is whether the National Labor Relations Board or the National Mediation Board has jurisdiction over their contract disputes, as the NLRB offers the union more protections, the Post reported.

“This has been a coordinated effort by Allied at airports across the country, to have unions give up on this jurisdiction issue,” Demopolos said. “They are trying to get other unions to give up their rights in exchange for a contract. They might have succeeded in some cities, but they failed against us at Newark, and they will fail again here at JFK.”

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Plane takes off from JFK with NYC skyline in background

The union told the Post that Allied is the only fuel provider at JFK, making it the only company airlines can use there for services including receiving, delivering, storing, and testing fuel.

“Quality control of product from receipt to delivery, electronic inventory management, fuel system maintenance, environmental compliance and into-plane fueling are a comprehensive package which Allied proudly provides to more than 120 airlines and customers that use JFK International Airport,” Allied’s website about its history at JFK states. 

JFK International Airport New York City

The general manager for Allied Services at JFK Airport did not immediately respond to a FOX Business request for comment. 

The Post reported that during the last strike, Allied used management personnel to refuel planes. 

On Wednesday, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which manages JFK, put out a press release stating about 6.4 million travelers are expected to use its airports and vehicular crossings from May 23 to May 28, marking a potential record for the Memorial Day travel period.

“We will work closely with our airport partners to minimize any disruptions over this busy holiday travel weekend,” Port Authority spokesman Seth Stein said in an email to FOX Business, adding that they “have no involvement in negotiations between our contractor and their unionized staff.”

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